Arab League Enters Syria as Violence Rises. Syria’s Deficit Spending Explodes but Government Hangs On

Arab League monitors are visiting a number of restive Syrian towns and cities, including Hama, Idleb, and Deraa.

Though Syria has made some concessions to the monitors since they began work Tuesday, government forces have at the same time been pressing ahead with attempts to put down peaceful protests in Hama, Homs and other parts of the country. Activists said at least 39 people have been killed by security forces in the two days since the observers arrived.

The government released 755 prisoners following a report by Human Rights Watch accusing authorities of hiding hundreds of detainees from the observers. It was the second concession in two days to the Arab League.

On Monday, the army pulled some of its troops back from the city of Homs after bombarding it for days and killing scores of people. It allowed the monitors to visit and as they came, tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets, chanting calls for the execution of President Bashar Assad.

The crisis in Syria was officially internationalized when members of the Arab League’s observer force arrived in Syria last Thursday. The following day, two car bombs exploded in front of state security offices in Kfar Sousa, Damascus, killing 44 and injuring another 100. The issue of who was responsible for the attack remains in dispute. Three days later, a second group of Arab League monitors arrived in Syria as violence in the central city of Homs intensified. Charged with monitoring the Syrian government’s implementation of the Arab League’s peace plan, the monitors have thus far been met with mixed emotions and varying levels of violence and disorder.

20% Deficit next year? Economy – EHSANI writes:

I think this Syria Steps article is extremely important coming from an economics expert at Damascus University. Usually, a budget deficit of nearing 10% of GDP starts to become a problem. This note claims the following:

1- Tax revenues next year will be less than half of what they were (50% drop).

2- Income from oil sale and the public sector will also drop.

3- The budget deficit as a result will be syp 529 billion out of a total budget of syp 1326 billion. In other words, 40% of expenditures will be unpaid for by revenue.

4- The resulting deficit of syp 529 billion is nearly $9 billion or 18% of GDP and this is assuming a GDP of $50 billion. The actual deficit/gdp ratio could top 20%.

5- The government has no access to credit markets. It never developed a local bond market and it can never access the international credit markets.

6- And here is the shocking solution: Force powerful companies, banks and even large car dealers to lend to the government especially that many made “enormous profits during the economic reform and liberalization process”. The way to do this would be through “tashreei” or passing laws that specifies the amounts, rates and tenor of these loans per company and even “individual”.

7- let me summarize it in simple terms: The state is only able to collect 60% of every syp it spends. It cannot borrow to bridge the gap. The only way to bridge the gap is to go to those companies, banks , car dealers, etc. that are thought to have benefited in the past and force them to lend to the state at rates and amounts that the government itself specifies.

The value of the Syrian Pound to the US Dollar has stabilized in the last few days on the back of the decision of the Central Bank to bring the national currency’s official rate closer to its black market value. The US Dollar now trades at around 59 Pounds per US Dollar from above 60 Pounds at the end of last week. (From Syria Report)

Government to Cut Overhead Expenses by 25 Percent – by Jihad Yaziji at Syria Report, 26-12-2011

The Syrian Prime Minister has issued instructions to all State administrations requiring them to reduce all their overhead expenses by 25 percent, excluding salaries.

The letter, which was issued by Adel Safar on December 18, says that the cuts must be made in various accounts including transport, stationery, office equipment, subscription to publications, staff bonuses, advertising, public relations and maintenance of equipment.

Both investment and current expenses are targeted by the measure.

The 2011 budget approved at the end of last year projected a budget deficit of 5.8 percent of GDP. However, a range of expenditure measures has been approved since last March by the Government in a bid to appease the protesters that have been taking to the streets across the country, leading to a significant hike in expenses. There is no estimate on how much these measures are going to increase the fiscal deficit.

The Syrian President also enacted last week the 2012 budget that forecasts a 58 percent increase in expenses to SYP 1,326 billion. This large increase is mainly due to the fact that expenses previously not accounted for in the state’s budget, namely energy subsidies, are now taken into account. The actual year-on-year difference in expenses with this year is ‘only’ 15 percent, according to the Minister of Finance.

The deficit should rise to SYP 335 billion in 2012. On the basis of this year’s Gross Domestic Product, the deficit would represent some 12 percent of GDP. It is not clear whether the 25 percent reduction in expenses required by the Government enters into account in this budget.

Current expenses are inceasing to SYP 951 billion and investment allocations standing at SYP 375 billion.

Many analysts had predicted the Syrian economy would collapse on the back of the political unrest, the economic downturn and the significant hikes in Government expenses. However, to this date the Syrian authorities have managed to keep a lid on inflation and to limit the decline of the Syrian Pound

Because of the absence of any data and the overall lack of transparency it is difficult to explain the performance of the Government. The decline in investment and spending has reduced imports and therefore reduced pressure on the national currency, while the good raining season has led to good crops, which in turn helped limit price increases.

Other analysts argue that the Government has been receiving outside help in the form of capital transfers from Iran or Iraq but there is no tangible evidence to confirm these assertions.

However, the closing weeks of 2011 have been difficult with the first large scale shortages of heating oil and domestic gas affecting Damascus. The Syrian capital is also facing daily power cuts of up to 3 hours, while until mid-November it was still largely void of any cut.

The last few weeks of the year have also seen increasing calls for strikes and boycotts. While the impact of these calls are discounted by Damascus-based analysts, in the countryside and many other cities they are relatively well enforced contributing to the general decline in business activity and government revenues.

Military repression in Homs is changing. Video of two T72s shelling Bab Amro sent by Thomas Pierret

This seems to be the first recording of tank fire or shelling of a Syrian city by a tank or heavy artillery. Earlier claims of tanks shelling Hama or ships shelling Latakia cannot be verified.

U.S. quietly preparing to support Syria opposition: report, December 29, 2011, The Daily Star

BEIRUT: White House officials are quietly preparing options to aid the Syrian opposition, Foreign Policy magazine reported.

In a blog posted Wednesday, the current affairs publication quoted two administration officials as saying the National Security Council (SNC), a body that aids the U.S. president in weighing national security policies, has commenced an informal, quiet interagency process of discussing options to assist the Syrian opposition.

Only a few select officials from the departments of State, Defense, Treasury and other agencies are engaged in the discussions headed by NSC Senior Director Steve Simon, the magazine reported.

The two officials, who were not taking part in the NSC meetings but familiar with the proceedings, said options being considered include setting up a humanitarian corridor or safe zone for civilians in Syria along the Turkish border, providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian rebels, offering medical aid to Syrian clinics and engaging more with the external and internal opposition.

The interagency is now looking at options for Syria, but it’s still at the preliminary stage,” Foreign Policy quoted one official as saying. “There are many people in the administration that realize the status quo is unsustainable and there is an internal recognition that existing financial sanctions are not going to bring down the Syrian regime in the near future” the official said…..

Antiwar.com: Obama Secretly Preparing for Syria Intervention, 2011-12-29

Members of the Obama Administration are confirming tonight that the National Security Council has been instructed to begin seeking options for US intervention in Syria, including what they call the “unlikely” option of setting up a no-fly zone. …

….Abdo said many students in Idleb had stopped going to school and were instead on the streets calling for the downfall of the 41-year-old Assad family dictatorship.

“We are planning to close the international roads which link Aleppo with Damascus, Lattakia with Aleppo, and Idleb with Turkey in the near future,” he said. “We will do everything that hurts the Assad regime….

SNC president Dr. Burhan Ghalioun addresses the nation on Christmas and New Year -”The regime must be stopped by any means possible…”

U.S. arms sale to Iraq will proceed: Despite the recent political turmoil in Baghdad, the United States will sell nearly $11 billion worth of equipment and training to its military.

Syria’s Torture Machine – BBC 4

An investigation into the detention and torture of Syrian civilians, featuring shocking video evidence of men, women and children being subjected to beatings, whippings and more elaborate…

Des Libyens épaulent les insurgés syriens Figaro – Libyans have gone to Syria to fight.

Syria’s deep divide A group of Syrians gather in The Cafe to debate their country’s future. al-Jazeera

Max Weiss brings us Tha’ir Deeb interview on Jadaliyya

MA: What do the Syrian people have to do, in terms of escalation, in order to put an end to this regime, the most tyrannical in the Arab world? Put differently, when might this regime surrender?

TD: What the Syrian people need to do is continue the revolution, without violence, sectarianism, and asking for international intervention. This path, which seems long and heavy with casualties, is in fact the shortest and has the least casualties. What the Syrian opposition needs to do is to stop wasting time and jumping around from one place to another. It has to dare and put forward visions and practices right here and now in order to help dismantle the stumbling blocks of the Syrian people’s intifada. One stumbling block, for example, is the notion that the intifada is a “rural” one, meaning that it is “regional” and limited to certain classes and segments of society, that it needs to become more urban and adequately patriotic, with an acceptable platform and a clear program. The opposition also needs to stop imitating other experiences in spite of the importance of benefitting from them. A lot of people thought our trajectory was going to be similar to that of Egypt and Tunisia. However, with the exacerbation of this barbaric repression, they proceeded to pander to the Libyan model instead of standing first and foremost with the Syrian model—which has no equal…..

The Syrian Model

MA: You mentioned distinguishing the Syrian revolutionary model and how it differs from the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan models. Can you elaborate on this?…..

Syrian unrest forces Hamas to plan for uprooting leadership across Mideast,  Associated Press, December 28

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Alarmed by bloody unrest in Syria, the Hamas militant group has pulled out many of its lower-level cadres from its Damascus headquarters and made contingency plans to move its leadership to locations across the Middle East, senior Hamas members have told The Associated Press.

NCB Announcement

The National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria [NCB] reports that a meeting was held in Cairo in the past two days between delegates of the NCB and the Syrian National Council [SNC], to continue the work of unifying the Syrian opposition. The atmosphere between the delegates was positive and co-operative during two sessions, and as a consequence they established a basic understanding about the tasks and rules for the expected transitional phase regarding multiple political and procedural aspects.

The most important agreement under discussion between the two delegations was to establish a Syrian General Congress under the auspices of the Arab League, to bring together representatives of the opposition of both of the blocks outside and inside Syria, public figures and independents, as one opposition group so that a Committee would emerge with a unified voice to officially represent the opposition in all forums…

The NCB Delegation in Cairo
27 December 2011

Comments (469)


Pages: « 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 » Show All

151. jad said:

BTW, many of the CNB members are extremely angry and disappointed, will see how Haytham can calm them down and keep them together after this step.

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December 30th, 2011, 11:34 pm

 

152. jad said:

I’m not sure what was Mr Haytham Manna thinking when he accepted to sign this agreement, he puts every member of the coordination in a dilemma in front of their own supporters of how to justify what’s written in that agreement..
He had lots of support, why he shot himself in the foot like that and especially in this extremely dangerous period for Syria.
How could he trust the SNC?

British Writing Obama’s Script for
Syrian Trigger for World War III

Dec. 29, 2011 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC).

A posting on The Cable, a blog of Foreign Policy magazine, Dec. 28, headlined the creation of a secret committee by the Obama Administration, which is preparing “options” for aiding the Syrian opposition. The process, led by NSC Senior Director Steve Simon, involves only a few select officials from State, Defense, Treasury, and other relevant agencies. It is unusually small, presumably to prevent media leaks, and bypasses the normal channels of Interagency Policy Committee, Deputies’ Committee, and Principals’ Committee meetings. A key participant is Fred Hof of State, who called the Syrian government a “dead man walking” earlier this month.

After reviewing the fact that intervention in Syria is likely to be much more “complicated” than that in Libya, the posting suddenly shifts to the options paper produced by the Syrian National Council, the London-based “opposition” which has recently called for international military intervention. Lo and behold, that policy paper, entitled “Safe Area for Syria,” ends up as a virtually word-for-word reprint of the call for military intervention issued earlier this month by London’s Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a Round Table descendant committed to the Empire program of perpetual war and the end of the nation state. The Henry Jackson Society piece was more explicit, titled “Intervention in Syria?”

The only difference in content between the two documents is that the SNC paper says that on Dec. 19, the group “formally endorsed foreign military intervention for Syria,” a step the HJS document had demanded they take in their document, which was released earlier.

The brief for a military attack on Syria was written by Michael Weiss, communications director of the Society. But don’t let the relative obscurity of Weiss fool you. The HJS has enlisted such foaming-at-the-mouth American neo-cons as James Woolsey, Richard Perle, William Kristol, and Josh Muravchik, with Obama’s choice as Moscow Ambassador, Michael McFaul — all under the direction of such British heavyweights as Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram, 13th Marquess of Lothian, grandson of Round Table Leader Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian — and Sir Richard Dearlove, Tony Blair’s choice for head of British SIS, 1999-2004.

The blueprint was supposedly edited by British puppet Syrian dissident Ausama Monajed, the same who provides all the purported daily death-totals of demonstrators killed by Assad which are featured in the international press and given further credibility by the United Nations. The options-paper, titled “Safe Area for Syria,” was given the imprimatur of Monajed’s London-based “Strategic Research and Communication Centre.” We recap:

The first part of the document is an open search for some “pretext” (their word) for foreign military intervention. If the Security Council will not call for intervention, any mere condemnation of the Assad government might serve as such a “pretext,” the British author says. If not the Security Council, then try the UN General Assembly — a UNGA resolution provided such a pretext for the Korean War in 1950, he writes.

Weiss then proceeds to today’s version of the Iraq “cakewalk” argument. Syria is militarily weak and can offer no effective resistance. Iran will complain but not intervene. Hizbullah can do nothing. Russia will not act, no matter what they say. It is from such insane denial of reality, that holocausts are made.

http://www.larouchepub.com/pr_lar/2011/lar_pac/111229brit_obama_script.html

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December 31st, 2011, 2:36 am

 

153. Revlon said:

128. ((
هام :نص الاتفاق بين هيئة التنسيق الوطني مع المجلس الوطن
مكتب هيئة التنسيق في القاهرة :
من مكتبنا في القاهرة تم التوقيع على بروتوكول مشترك مع المجلس الوطني تمهيداً لعقد المؤتمر السوري في الشهر القادم في ظل الجامعة العربية وسنوافيكم بالتفاصيل لاحقاً))

Dear Haytham Khoury,
Thank you for linking to this important document, which promted me to ponder and ask myself ta couple of related questions as follws:

1. Who asked for, and whom shall this agreement serve?
My answer: Pro-regime regional and Global powers.

The agreement was not prompted by internal pressure or request by the revolution.
It came in response to specific request made by pro-regime Arab countries represented in the AL, on behalf of pro-regime global powers represented in the security council.

The agreement provides an agreeable framework, for the concerned parties, for current and future regional and international intervention in the political life until the election of a new president and parliament in Syria.

In a nutshel, the revolution represented by the SNC’s call for western intervention was offset by NCB’s call for Russian and Iranian intervention.

2. Will this agreement have any significant influence on the future of political life in Syria?

The answer is: No!

The constitution shall be written by an elected body of representatives. The latter shall be dominated by figures or sypathisers of the Revolution.
Manna3 and his NCB members may barely have their own family members votes.

The Revolution, represented by the SNC already provided an all inclusive, and a more detailed vision of Future Syria, that covers and includes all of the caveats in the agreement.

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December 31st, 2011, 2:48 am

 

154. Revlon said:

A view point on item 4 of the NCB and SNC agreement liked to earlier by haytham.
4- نعتز بمواقف الضباط والجنود السوريين الذين رفضوا الانصياع لأوامر النظام بقتل المدنيين المتظاهرين السلميين المطالبين بالحرية ونتفهم أزمة الضمير الإنساني والوطني التي زج بها النظام أفراد القوات المسلحة ونحمل النظام كامل المسؤولية في ذلك.
في المرحلة الانتقالية:
أولا: تبدأ المرحلة الإنتقالية بسقوط النظام القائم بكافة أركانه ورموزه الأمر الذي يعني سقوط السلطة السياسية القائمة مع الحفاظ على مؤسسات الدولة ووظائفها الأساسية، وتنتهي بإقرار دستور جديد للبلاد يضمن النظام البرلماني الديمقراطي المدني التعددي والتداولي وانتخاب برلمان ورئيس جمهورية على أساس هذا الدستور.

This clause simplay says: The president and the cabinet leave, but every thing else stays; including the four security agencies and scores of branches, the republican guards, and all commanders of Assad’s army down to the smaller ranking officer who have been involved in crimes against humanity!

In brief, Secular Mannaa and Galioun are saying to all help us to have our say and we will help you have yours!
1. To the West: help us to guarantee the eradication of fundamentalism and establish peace with Israel.
2. To Russia: your economic and military interesrsts shall be guaranteed.
3. To Assad armed forces: Collect illegal arms and protect us from the FSA and we shall gurantee you amnesty and continued job benefits.
4. To security forces: protect us from hard line activists and non-compliant media and we shall protect your living.

The agreement that Ghalioun and Manna3 have signed is bound to lead to a post-regime scenario similar to Egypt’s.

Mubarak left power hanging on to the key to hsi future survival; his personal thumb drive that holds thousands of documents incriminating all of his security and army commanders with all kinds of corruption practices.
His motto: If I go down, so shall all of you my old friends. The army and security officers shall do every thing in their capacity to have a decent exit for the president.

The top brass in the army is corrupt. Their corruption related, thick folios are also in the hands of their nemesis; the security agencies. They dare not enforce any ruling against them without risking a damaging reprisal.

The outcome of Egypt’s model of the revolution shall be the rejuvination of the face of the existing, corrupt security, military, neopolitical syndicate by a facelift that shall have the in-look of a modern democratic system.

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December 31st, 2011, 2:59 am

 

155. jad said:

Where are you Bronco when we need you :)
I can’t get over Haytham Manna signing this agreement, was it meant to burn his reputation as Hamad wanted according to the article I linked earlier because Haytham was so adamant against the intervention issue more than Hasan Abd Alazeem and anybody else, how did he agree on that this easily? very strange!

http://www.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?eid=158046&frid=51&cid=51&fromval=1&seccatid=161

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December 31st, 2011, 3:14 am

 

156. Mina said:

Revlon took a reality-check (see #153)!
And you thought the duwal uzma would agree to anything but that?? Poor naive.
It doesn’t seem weird to you that after a few pictures in the magazines, we don’t hear of the “Tahrir youth” anymore, now that some are openly pro-MB and other “socialists”? The West will always chose for you your political parties and who should be interviewed, don’t worry. But you can still call for more “independent journalists” to visit Syria and organize the future elite if you want. Since the Gulf is so much involved in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon politics, this is where it start and it is not just by sending people barking and get killed that you will change that and avoid all the ‘sensitive issues’ (women, minorities) that the bailers don’t wan’t to address.

Instead of giving us more fatiha-s why don’t you pray for islamic countries to have descent hospitals where killers and corrupt people get arrested when they make medical mistakes, or worse, are involved in organs traffick? Why don’t you explain the layman that adoption is not haram? That shaykhs are often corrupt? by the way, if it is justice and equality that is wanted, why are Mrs Ben Ali and Mrs Mubarak still free and unaccountable? Should international justice consider women as “half men” while they were for years accused of corruption and of bad interference in their respective country’s politics?

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December 31st, 2011, 4:35 am

 

157. Juergen said:

funny list i found, you all may know it already…

http://www.el-baghdadi.com/projects/the-arab-tyrants-manual/66-the-canonical-qarab-tyrants-manualq.html

“Firstly, insist that your country is not “X” (“X” experienced a revolution just before yours). Blame everything on al-Jazeera then close their office in your country. Say that you “support youth” (while your security forces are killing the same young people). Condemn Islamists; start at the bottom rung (Muslim Brotherhood) then work your way straight up to the evil al-Qa’ida. At the beginning (of social unrest), pretend that nothing is going on, and, when you learn of the seriousness of the crisis too late, address your nation at midnight. Warn against sectarianism, tribalism and other ‘isms’ that get people frightened. Blow up a church and blame Islamists. Announce that your remaining in power is synonymous with stability.”

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December 31st, 2011, 5:54 am

 

158. defender said:

Obama administration secretly preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/28/obama_administration_secretly_preparing_options_for_aiding_the_syrian_opposition

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December 31st, 2011, 7:02 am

 

159. defender said:

‘West’s policy on Syria could ignite WWIII’

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December 31st, 2011, 7:07 am

 

160. defender said:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/1223/US-Russia-ties-Chill-over-Syria-replaces-warmth-of-Obama-s-reset-policy

US-Russia ties: Chill over Syria replaces warmth of Obama’s ‘reset’ policy
Obama once touted improved US ties with Russia as a major achievement. But the contentious wrangle over Syria at the UN is threatening to undo the ‘reset.’

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December 31st, 2011, 7:15 am

 

161. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Guys, I’m losing track. What is the NCB ?
.

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December 31st, 2011, 8:40 am

 

162. Tara said:

United opposition, clear road map to democracy, AL’s initiative failing to stop the killing are the highlights of the second half of December that are clearly essential milestones in toppling the regime. 

The opposition is now UNITED.  I see this as a great news in the last day of 2011.  It provides a pretext for stronger measures by the international community against the regime of Bashar al Assad.  The day after Basho is now well drawn with preservation of all state institutions and guaranteeing pluralist parliamentary democratic system the protects the rights of women and minorities.  United opposition, clear road map, and failure of the AL’s initiative will encourage much stronger measures by the international community to aid the opposition in toppling the regime without the need for foreign physical intervention.   Russia will not be able to stand pressure against the flow of events nor might be actually interested in continuing to support Besho.  The next step for the new united opposition is to contact the Russians and assure them unchanged relation after Besho.   

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/syrias-two-largest-opposition-groups-sign-draft-to-unite-against-assad-establish-democracy/2011/12/31/gIQAgzY6RP_story.html

BEIRUT — Syria’s two largest opposition groups signed an agreement on setting up a democracy after President Bashar Assad’s regime falls, opposition figures said Saturday.

Ghalioun, leader of the Syrian National Council, and Haytham Manna of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, or NCB, signed the draft in Cairo on Friday night, according to an NCB statement and Omar Idilbi of the SNC.
….
The draft, of which a copy was obtained by The Associated Press, says both groups reject any foreign military intervention in Syria and call for the protection of civilians by all legitimate means in the framework of international laws.

It also said that as soon as Assad’s regime falls a “transitional period” begins by preserving all state institutions then drafting a new constitution that guarantees a “civilian pluralist parliamentary democratic system” after which a parliament and new president are elected.

The draft also says that all Syrian citizens are equal and the country’s Kurdish minority is a “fundamental and historic” part of Syria’s national structure. It also calls for “liberating Syrian territory,” an apparent reference to the Golan Heights occupied by Israel since 1967.

The two umbrella groups, the SNC and NCB, arose after the revolt began in March as activists and the opposition tried to organize their ranks against Assad. The national council has been the more active of the two abroad, with Ghalioun meeting international leaders in a bid to build support. The NCB has organized opposition conferences inside Syria, suggesting it has a stronger presence on the ground.

The Syria-based head of the NCB, Hassan Abdul-Azim, told the AP that the aim is to have a “united opposition inside and outside the country” making it a more active force.

“The opposition, inside and outside the country, agree that this regime should go and a new democratic system be set up,” said Abdul-Azim, one of the most prominent dissidents inside Syria.

His group adopted the draft agreement. The SNC’s Ghalioun signed the agreement but the membership of the group must still formally adopt it, though the SNC’s Idlibi said he expects that will happen without any changes. The groups said they will hand an official copy to Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby in Cairo on Sunday.
…..
Arab League officials say they have no illusions that Assad will stop trying to crush a street movement that has raised the most serious challenge to the 40-year rule of his family. Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, has denied issuing orders to kill protesters.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:00 am

 

163. Tara said:

Amir

To answer your question, see above link. The NCB is more like the internal opposition. That does not mean of course the revolutionaries themselves who are your average Syrian citizens.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:04 am

 

164. Tara said:

Dear Juergen,

Thanks for your link in# 156. I find it very funny. I am so grateful that the Syrian people have friends like you.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:13 am

 

165. Revlon said:

160. Dear Amir in Tel Aviv,
NCB stands for national coordination body.
It consists mostly of veteran Syrian politicians and activists that enjoyed a margin of freedom and protection by the regime in return for their symbiotic political agenda.

Happy new year.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:21 am

 

166. Revlon said:

155. Dear Mina,
((Revlon took a reality-check (see #153)!))

The last time you addressed me, several months back, you expressed disinterest in discussing anything with the likes of me!

What a pleasant surprise to see you change your mind!!

I have read your comment several times, and am still unable understand what is it that you wanted to say.

I thank you for discussing my post.

Happy new year, Mina.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:32 am

 

167. Tara said:

Dear Revlon,

Ah…it is not only me. I can never really truly understand most of what Mina wants to say in most of her comments. I thought I was the only one who couldn’t. I think she process info at a completely different level. I get especially intrigued when statements like “see Kongo or Kenya” etc come out of the blue. I also sometimes can’t fathom how one sentence lead to other. I try hard to work on it to no avail. I think Mina’s profound analysis is above and beyond my intelligence.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:49 am

 

168. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Thank you Dear Tara and Revlon !
.

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December 31st, 2011, 9:52 am

 

169. Juergen said:

Melhem Chaoul:

A dictator’s power is personal and absolute, he says. Laws exist only to protect the system of domination. Whoever is in power must be surrounded by a loyal family circle. Terror, corruption and propaganda are the triple pillars of this power. Citizens who object become “rats” (Gaddafi), “monstrous criminals” (Assad), “earthworms” according to Saddam. Everyone is invited to participate in the “comic opera” of corruption, from the small customs officers to the great merchants of Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Sanaa and Tripoli. “If there is one right under an Arab dictatorship,” Chaoul says, “it is the right to be corrupt. Everyone is implicated, everyone is an accomplice. Those who refuse to play this game are suspects and traitors … Watch out! Honesty is suspect.”

“When these regimes pretend to struggle against ‘terrorism’, especially the Islamist-fundamentalist version, they are fighting against groups that they themselves have created.”

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December 31st, 2011, 10:26 am

 

170. Haytham Khoury said:

The Opposition has fulfilled the demands of the AL initiative by being united.

The regime has failed to meet the demands of the AL initiative.
هآآآام جدا درعا احد المراقبين يعترف برؤيته للقناصة 30/12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wVKX_4UPq8U#!

I told you yesterday my scenario of the subsequent events. PLease remind me in few weeks.

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December 31st, 2011, 10:30 am

 

171. ss said:

“146. sheilasaid:

Sorry SS, I was not really addressing you, but since you asked: yes, you should be proud of both Dr. Ziadeh and Dr. Ghalioun”.
Thank you for your spelling leasons, FYI, I did not spell Ghalioun right either, but you care less about that. May I ask you; is Tuz spelled correctly?..You see I used different terms because I was looking for the right spelling. can you help me.

After reading 148 comment, I was very generous to you in what I said. I think “Tuz” is the least word to use. I think I am going to use this word in a way similar to the P value that is used to evaluate scientific literature.

I am certainly not proud of Ghalioun or Ziadeh.

Anyone can provide us with some videos of women demonstrating against Al-Assad in Syria. Perhaps some readers are interested in the identity of such women

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December 31st, 2011, 10:34 am

 

172. Syria no kandahar said:

Hytham Boco Haram was in Harasta:
قالت مصادر سورية متابعة ان أحد اعضاء وفد المراقبين العرب، قد قام بالصلاة مع من أسمتهم «المسلحين في الجامع الكبير في حرستا».
 وأضافت المصادر أنه وبعد الانتهاء من الصلاة حمل على الأكتاف، وألقى كلمة وصفتها المصادر بـ«التحريضية» وقالت انه «دعا فيها المسلحين إلى حمل السلاح بوجه الجيش والأمن والنظام، ما حدا بهم أن يتصلوا بالمجموعات المسلحة إذ حضرت سيارة كياريو على الفور وقامت بتوزيع السلاح على المتظاهرين مباشرة» بحسب المصادر.

وأضافت المصادر أن «المقدم قام بتوبيخ المسيرات المؤيدة داعيا إلى عدم توثيقها وطلب أن يذهب إلى مستشفى حمدان للقاء المسلحين المصابين وعندما ابلغه الأمن السوري أن هناك خطرا على حياته قال «الله يحميني» ومن ثم خرج محمولا على الأكتاف بعد صلاة المغرب وهو يهتف محرضا المسلحين على حمل السلاح ضد النظام».

وزادت المصادر بأن الجهات المختصة قامت بتوثيق ما قام به من تصرفات أساءت لمهمته الحيادية في توثيق ما يشاهده ويسمعه من جميع الإطراف. وعلمت الأنباء أن السلطات السورية قد تقوم بترحيله نظرا لعدم مصداقيته بالمهمة الموكلة إليه.

من جهة اخرى، اكد جهاد تركي مراسل «الانباء» المرافق لبعثة الجامعة العربية في مدينة درعا ان «المتظاهرين قاموا برشق الوفد الاعلامي المرافق للمراقبين بالحجارة اثناء توجههم للجامع العمري مما ادى الى تدخل عناصر حفظ النظام لحماية الاعلاميين». 

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December 31st, 2011, 10:35 am

 

173. Haytham Khoury said:

أكبر فضيحة للنظام السوري أحد المراقبين يشهد بوجود قناصة تطلق النار وأحمد الحاج علي ينكر ويتلعثم ود برهان غليون لحصاد اليوم الجزيرة 30 12 2011

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December 31st, 2011, 10:40 am

 

174. Revlon said:

((How to uproot the regime, while preserving the institutions until they undergo their ultimate reforms.))

Dear Observer, You have presented us with a stern task.
To start to tackle the problem I find it necessary that I spell out my arbitrary understanding of each of the provided , technical terms:

Part I/II
What is the regime?
It is the group of people that dictate rules that govern all aspects of life in Syria.
It is comprised of the Chairman of the board, Jr, and the board of directors of Assad Syria company limited, namely Asad-Makhloof clan! They are a handful of people.

The regime as such must be removed from power completely.
They are already charged with crimes against humanity. All shall be properly tried and convicted if found guilty.

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December 31st, 2011, 10:41 am

 

175. Revlon said:

Dear observer,
Here is Part II/II
Institutions are comprised of groups of people that work within a hierarchy of organisational structure, within appropriate infrastructure (Buildings, facilities, utilities, etc.).

The only element of the three mentioned above that requires urgent attention and reform is the leadership of institutions. All of those holding ministerial, director, and manager positions across all public institutions need to be suspended from work. They could be sent home, on open leave, pending investigation.
Their positions could easily be filled from within the same sections, departments, or ministry by colleagues with high reputation.

What is the purpose from applying such urgent measures?
- The protection of the achievements of the revolution.
- To provide immediate medical, economical, and social relief to victims of Assad forces.

What are the concerned institutions?
What immediate measures need to be applied upon assuming power?
1. Political:
A) Executive:
- President: replaced by Executive office of the SNC
- Cabinet: Replaced / or works in coordination with the General secretariat of the SNC
B) Legislative: Replaced by the General assembly of the SNC and its various committees

2. Security:
- Armed forces and related intelligence forces:
All Generals to be sent on an open leave pending investigation. They are temporarily replaced by junior, non-corrupt ones.
General Al Asaad assumes the position of acting commander of chief of the army and related intelligence agencies.
- Police: All top commanders to be sent on an open leave pending investigation. They are replaced by younger non-corrupt subordinates.

3. Ideological
- Baath party: disbanded
- NPF: disbanded.

Happy new year!

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December 31st, 2011, 10:43 am

 

176. Syria no kandahar said:

Revlon the scorpion
Killers of 2000 Syrian soldiers using isreali رشاش عوزي؟
Send them to Hawaii

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December 31st, 2011, 10:58 am

 

177. Ghufran said:

Sheila,
There are thousands of Syrians who hold PhD degrees and their credentials are comparable to Ziadeh but they did not go on tv asking for military intervention and the bombing of army installations in Syria.
ان أكرمكم عند الله اتقاكم
Education is only one factor in judging a person’s value in any society,I am not trying to lecture you here ,I think you may actually agree.
Revlon
شر البلية ما يضحك
I nominate عرعور to become the head of لجنة اجتثاث الكفار
Happy new year to all

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December 31st, 2011, 11:26 am

 
 

179. jad said:

Ghufran
About Mr. Manna3:
أسمع كلامك أصدقك أشوف عمايلك أستعجب

Now the SNC members are more angry than anybody else regarding the agreement and they are asking for the removal of Ghalyoun! Huh?!

“جميع أعضاء المجلس الوطني رفضوا الاتفاق,يقول المعاق أنس العبدة أن رئيس المجلس غير مخول بعقد الاتفاق, أنا بقترح على المجلس الوطني يفصل برهان غليون من المجلس الوطني خلي المجلس الزبالة يعرف حقيقته و انو لولا برهان غليون ما حدا شايلن من ارضن مجموعة ناس زبالة عن جد خطابهن السياسي تافه مثلهم”

عريضة موقعة من أعضاء المجلس الوطني لإسقاط الاتفاق مع هيئة التنسيق

عريضة موقعة من أعضاء المجلس الوطني للمطالبة بسحب اتفاقية هيئة التنسيق فوراً امتحاننا الديمقراطي الأول. السادة أعضاء المكتب التنفيذي، السادة الأمانة العامة، السيد رئيس المجلس الوطني السوري المحترم. نحن الموقعون أدناه أعضاء المجلس الوطني السوري نطالب وبالسرعة القصوى سحب الاتفاق مع هيئة التنسيق الوطني وذلك للأسباب الآتية على الأقل: 1- عدم التزام الاتفاق المذكور بالبيان السياسي لاجتماع المجلس في تونس والذي ينص على مطالبة المجتمع الدولي بإقامة مناطق آمنة ومناطق عازلة لحماية المدنيين، وهو ما يخالف الاتفاق مع الهيئة في بنده الأول والذي ينص على “رفض أي تدخل عسكري أجنبي يمس بسيادة واستقلال البلاد”. 2- عدم احترام النظام الأساسي للمجلس الوطني والذي ينص على أن توقيع الاتفاقات يخضع لموافقة الأمانة العامة أولاً ولتصديق الهيئة العامة ثانياً . 3- الاتفاق يجعل للمجلس مرجعية غير مرجعية الهيئة العامة فالاتفاق ينص على أنه: “بشأن المرجعية القانونية والدستورية: ينبثق عن مؤتمر المعارضة لجنة مشتركة للعمل الوطني تنسق مواقف المعارضة وتوحد نشاطاتها السياسية والحقوقية والإعلامية والدبلوماسية والإغاثية وتحترم قراراتها الأطراف المشاركة.” وهم برهان غليون رئيس المجلس الوطني السوري هيثم مناع رئيس هيئة التنسيق الوطنية في المهجر”.. 4. ليس من حق رئيس المجلس أن يتصرف بكامل الكيان السياسي دون الرجوع للهيئة ويحولها إلى كيان تابع لكيان جديد، وهو مرة أخرى يشكل خرقاً فاضحاً لنظامنا الأساسي. 5- إن الاتفاق الذي يمنع التدخل الدولي وينص على قبول تدخل وحيد حصري مقبول (هو تدخل الدول العربية) سوف يؤدي إلى إحباط الشارع السوري بعد أن سببت له لجنة المراقبة خيبة واسعة مما أدى إلى تصاعد دعوات عسكرة الثورة بشكل مخيف. 6-إن الاتفاق ينقض أساس فكرة المجلس الوطني كمظلة وطنية جامعة ويحوله إلى طرف سياسي يوازي ويكافئ هيئة التنسيق التي أسقطها الشارع، وهو أمر لا يمكن قبوله بالمطلق . إن أعضاء المجلس الوطني هنا يحذرون من مغبة مسؤولية فقدان الأمل في الشارع السوري وتزايد الشعور بعدم جدوى دعم المجلس الوطني السوري والإيمان به كمظلة سياسية تمثلهم للخلاص والعودة، مما يؤدي إلى دوامة فقدان البديل داخلياً وخارجياً واللجوء إلى العنف كخيار وحيد. :نحن الموقعون أدناه نطالب فوراً بـ طلب عقد اجتماع عاجل للمكتب التنفيذي والأمانة العامة والتراجع عن الاتفاق بأي طريقة وعدم تسليمه للجامعة العربية يوم الأحد. ونقترح – وتداركاً للموقف – أن يتم الإعلان فوراً أنه تم التوقيع على الاتفاقية بشكل أولي، وهي تحتاج إلى موافقة الأمانة العامة وتصديق الهيئة العامة للمجلس، وباجتماع الأمانة العاجل يتم عدم إقرارها بحجة عدم تصديقها من قبل السلطة الأعلى في المجلس وهي الهيئة العامة. ونحذر من نتائج عدم التراجع عن الاتفاق، وإلجاء أعضاء المجلس وهيئته بالعموم إلى البدء بإجراءات نزع الثقة عن المسؤولين عن الاتفاق في اجتماع عاجل للهيئة العامة يتم الإعداد له. الرحمة لشهدائنا وعاشت سورية حرة أبية

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December 31st, 2011, 11:43 am

 

180. Ghufran said:

Since the SNC is a cover for islamists and since Ghalioun is their marketing agent,this marriage will not last,this was said before,many times. As soon as the SNC under Ghlioun tries to moderate ,he will be called a traitor and either expelled or see the SNC dissolve.
A new body that has moderate opposition figures from all sides is needed,and the islamists should feel free to form their own party,unifying the opposition in Syria is undoable,islamists must ride their own horses not use the back of others to climb the power chair.

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December 31st, 2011, 11:53 am

 

181. jad said:

The SNC members who never stopped of asking for ‘western’ intervention along the most radical opposition are going bazook against the agreements because it rejects the ‘western’ intervention, and people keep telling us that we should be proud of those ‘Syrian’ thugs, sure!

رضوان زيادة يعلق عضويته احتجاجا على هذا الاتفاق

أنس العبدة رئيس اعلان دمشق بالخارج يرفض رفضا تاما الإتفاق

غسان النجار يعلن انسحابه من المجلس

عماد الدين الرشيد يعترض على هذا الاتفاق

Aljazeera invited the most radical of all oppositions, Ashraf Almoukdad to tell us his priceless opinion, I thought Qatar wanted this agreement, why they are attacking it now? Is it true then that the Emir of Qatar forced Mr. Manna’s views over Hamad’s team? this is too vague.

Largest Syrian opposition groups sign unity agreement

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December 31st, 2011, 12:05 pm

 

182. Revlon said:

I know! It is hard to teach an old a new trick!
But they should be able to do a better job than this.

The SNC leadership need to take a crash course and / workshop in governance before they become eligible to assume their official repsonsibilities.

Syrian National Council المجلس الوطني السوري
Kurdish representatives in SNC see procedural as well as objective inconsistencies in the NCB SNC signed agreement, with SNC platform and governance
31/12/2011
http://www.facebook.com/TheSyrianNationalCouncil

بيان من الكتلة الكردية في المجلس الوطني السوري

فوجئت الكتلة الكردية كغيرها من مكونات المجلس الوطني السوري بإعلان هيئة التنسيق عن توصلها إلى اتفاق مع المجلس على وثيقة سياسية مشتركة للمرحلة الانتقالية. وبالفعل تم توزيع هذا الاتفاق على وسائل الإعلام من قبل الهيئة في حين التزمت قيادة المجلس الصمت ولم تطلع الهيئة العامة على مضمونه.

إننا في الكتلة الكردية إذ نستغرب هذا السلوك من قيادة المجلس، نؤكد رفضنا لهذا الاتفاق ونعتبره غير شرعي للأسباب التالية:

1. لا توجد مرجعية في المجلس تعلو على مرجعية الهيئة العامة التي حظيت بدعم الحراك الثوري في الداخل، وبالتالي فإن أي اتفاق يتم دون موافقة الهيئة العامة يعتبر التفافا على الثورة

2. يتناقض هذا الاتفاق مع البرنامج السياسي للمجلس وبيانه الختامي اللذين أقرا في الاجتماع الأول للهيئة العامة في تونس بتاريخ 17 و 18/ 12/ 2011.

3. لقد تخلى المجلس من خلال هذا الاتفاق عن ثوابت صادقت عليها الهيئة العامة ومنها:

ـ دعم الجيش السوري الحر واعتباره جزءاً من الثورة السورية

ـ تأمين الحماية الدولية للمدنيين.

ـ الاعتراف الدستوري بحقوق الشعبين الكردي والآثوري.

4. عدم إتباع الأصول والإجراءات القانونية في عقد الاتفاقيات من خلال تجاهل دور الهيئة العامة للمجلس بالمطلق.

لكل هذه الأسباب ترى الكتلة الكردية في المجلس الوطني السوري أن الاتفاق المذكور يعد باطلاً من النواحي القانونية والسياسية والإجرائية وهي تجد نفسها في حل من الالتزام بمضمونه. وتدعو الكتلة بقية مكونات المجلس وأعضائه للعمل معا من أجل إسقاط هذا الاتفاق المجحف بحق شعبنا السوري وثورته المباركة.

الكتلة الكردية في المجلس الوطني السوري

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December 31st, 2011, 12:34 pm

 

183. Juergen said:

Interview with the most famous syrian writer Rafiq Schami,who lives in Germany since more than 40 years. Unfortunatly his fine books are unknown to Syrians so far.

Midani Nadia: I hoped but, unlike you, still believe that the son has now gradually permeated reforms and Syria into a polyphonic democracy … Now, I admit, with ashes on my head, I have criticized at the time your stubborn refusal,as you wrote, “Syria needs democracy, not Assad’s heirs.” Still, I wonder now, there would have been in the place of rebellion other options?

Rafik Shami: My irreconcilable attitude has to do with my exile, which, in addition to its known disadvantages and advantages. One can better inform and develop freely and express his thoughts. Syria was the first Arab Republic, which inherited the rule. As in all of Syria were not able women or men who could govern this country – and by the will of the people. This pale man Bashar al Assad, who wanted nothing to do with politics, to name a successor, was an insult to the republican idea. The intelligence community had serious doubts. He was taught in a crash course etiquette, and raised him in military ranks, which usually require 20 years of experience in an army. He has been sold as a “reformer” and he had a few working groups meet in public, of course, under close supervision of the intelligence services. He allowed a satirical magazine and arrested a couple of corrupt ministers. It is a drama whose director he was led from the start until all the army generals, all the political leadership cadres expressed their loyalty to either, or were dismissed. And then he reigned eleven years without a single reform. From here this was more obvious than inside the country. We, here in the exile, watched scecpticaly the euphoria and saw the old mafia was only replaced by their sons. That was the only change. And the sons of this regime were still cheeky. Who gave away all rights to open a telecommunication company to his cousin? How can a cousin of the President from a poor man to a millionaire in ten years? Where did the billions of the Assad family came from which are on European and American banks?
And then this same Assad is sold to us as being antiamerican.

Midani Nadia: But anyway, why can not such a regime be reformed?

Rafik Shami: Because it will collapse and implode from inside in the moment when a serious reform is placed. This first step would be the dismisal of all 15 or so intelligence agencies. The second step then would be ,to give back to the Syrian people the looted billions. We do not need foreign aid or depend on it.
Everything else is just superficial theater for an equally superficial press. Nevertheless, there was a possibility for a few days. Immediately after the outbreak of the uprising. If the President on 15.3.2011, based on the masses who never and nowhere called for his overthrow, but for freedom, democracy and demonstrated against corruption, gathered some of his best advisors and immediately dismissed the the secret agencies then he would have had to introduce radical reforms in daily controllable and comprehensible steps. He would have become the hero of the people and that would have protected him and his life. But perhaps he would have been dead even before he uttered the last sentence of his planned reforms. Murdered by his own henchmen.
But then the shift to democracy would have happened more quickly because no time would have had to build a successor.
But what did he do? He was gone for 14 days and left the dirty work to his murderous brother Maher al Assad and Assef Shaukat. Until today he showed great autism, like all Arab dictators who learned nothing. He appears, promises reforms, promises that the regime will immediately stop firing at the demonstrators and the following day twice as many are killed.

Nadia Midani: How big is the influence of writers and cultural workers to the democratization of Syria? Intellectuals have to say about politics and revolutions?

Rafik Shami: literature and art can only take an indirect political influence. And whenever they tried to be direct, which had catastrophic consequences. The role of artists, writers and intellectuals in my opinion is to deepen the discussion during the Revolution, to encourage people to adopt a humane way and the hand to hand and the former enemies. Sure, independent courts need to ensure the proper punishment of those crimes, committed by the deposed ruler. But not as revenge, but in the sense of a democratic process of maturation. The flight from responsibility with hypocritical arguments would be a mistake.

Nadia Midani: Are there any Syrian artists who engage in domestic politics? What will become of those who worked with the power?

Rafik Shami: Sure there is. Both in exile and in Syria there are courageous artists, writers and intellectuals who are against the dictatorship. But there are also those who always flirting with the dictators and their promotions and cash prizes. The irony of history is that you can find the same name later on the signature lists of subversives again.
But now the revolutionaries publish the names of these corrupt sycophants. Dictators are similar to nuclear power plants: They promise a lot and infect anyone who comes into contact with them. It’s not just Arabs,who swear allegiance to the dictators. Even German and Europeans are seduced again and again by the money, and they became accomplices of Saud, Assad, Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein.

N. M.: What is in power so seductive that Intellectuals are drawn to?
RS: It’s less of a direct benefit, money, car or house
rather than the vanity, by the proximity to power
is satisfied. Writers, artists and intellectuals are
the least immune to this disease. One could accompanies
a president during a state visit …, you will be reiceived by other cultural ministers or one could dine with the most important men who casually will mention that they have spoken with Obama, Sarkozy or the devil spoke on the phone. This all is very tempting. Many of my aging colleagues who find themselves slowly fading, try hard to come into the spotlight – and look ridiculously by doing so. For example, when Joachim Sartorius,
a permanent resident of the rulers in Damascus in 2007
write in the FAZ report on his visit to
Damascus, or if the pathologically vain Jürgen Todenhöfer who wrote a full page in the ZEIT about his stupid and cynical report on his visit to Daraa.

N. M.: Is the concern for the Christians by the West justified?
R. S.: This is pure hypocrisy. The West has not cared for a second
in fifty years to the welfare of Arab Christians
care under this dictatorship. Quite the contrary. The bashing
against the Prophet Muhammad by Pope Benedict fueled, without the slightest responsibility towards the Fate of the Christians who live in the Arab and Muslim countries. Mrs. Merkel was not too dumb, just to find that great what hurted Muslims most. She hurried as Protestant and applauded the insults of the Pope, and she appeared in person to the awarding of a prize to a
third-rate cartoonist, whose main achievement was to draw Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.
The Christians in Syria were always of course, like all
minorities at risk, but they enjoyed for thousands of
Years, the protected life with the Muslims … even during
the Crusades … and they will also survive the transition to
Democracy.

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December 31st, 2011, 12:35 pm

 

184. jad said:

المجلس الوطني ضد وحدة المعارضة: التاريخ يعيد نفسه

من منا لا يذكر ذلك اليوم التاريخي في حياة الثورة السورية؟ اليوم الذي ظهر فيه “ضياء الدين دغمش” على قناة الجزيرة ليصرح عن تشكيل أول مجلس وطني سوري. أثار هذا اليوم التاريخي أكبر حالةِ حوارٍ وسجالٍ حقيقي ومؤسس في حياة السوريين يومها، وزاد في ذلك التصريحات اللولبية التي تلت هذا الإعلان سواء من قبل المرشحين لعضوية المجلس أو غير المرشحين من ناشطين وصفحات. ومضت أيام عصيبة على السوريين انتهت بمصالحةٍ ناقصة لا تختلف في وضعها النهائي عن وضعها البدائي إلا في شكلياتٍ تجاوزناها مع تغيير التسمية من “المجلس الانتقالي السوري” إلى “المجلس الوطني السوري”، واضطر الجميع للقبول بها ومن ثمّ القبول بفرضها عبر تسميةٍ أطلقتها صفحة الثورة السورية، وعفا الله عما سلف وعن الأيام التي ضاعت في تقبل حقيقة وصعوبة تشكيل مجلس وطني يرضى عنه الجميع.
يبدو أن الثورة السورية لا تتعلم من أخطائها، ولا تريد المضي قدماً إلى الأمام. فاليوم وعلى مشارف نهاية العام 2011 عام الثورات العربية، وبعد انتشار الأخبار عن التوقيع على اتفاق بين “المجلس الوطني السوري” و”هيئة التنسيق الوطنية من أجل سوريا” عادت إلى أجواء الشارع السوري آمال وأفكار تشابه ما عشناه منذ أشهر وعقدنا عليه الآمال. وما لبثت أحلامنا وآمالنا أن انهارت مع إعلان كتلةٍ من المجلس الوطني موقفها الرافض لهذا الاتفاق، ورغم أن هذه الكتلة قد لا تكون أغلبيّةً في المجلس الوطني إلا أنها تتسلح بأعضاء المكتب الإعلامي الذين لم يدّخروا جهداً منذ ساعات الصباح الأولى في تكريس موقفٍ نهائي رافضٍ للاتفاق. وما لبثت أن انتشرت عريضة على موقع “غوغل دوكس” لحشد أكبر عدد من التواقيع لرفض هذا الاتفاق بين أكبر كتلتين للمعارضة السورية.

تفاصيل ما حدث خلف الكواليس:
عند قراءة الأسباب والتبريرات التي يقدمها أعضاء المجلس الوطني لرفضهم هذه الوثيقة، يتبدى لنا الموقف الأساسي وراء هذا التخبط. فأولاً يبدو أن رئيس المجلس برهان غليون ومعه بعض الأعضاء من المجلس الوطني (على رأسهم الشيخ هيثم المالح) قد عقد مع رئيس الهيئة في المهجر “هيثم مناع” سلسلةً من الاجتماعات المتواصلة للوصول إلى صيغةٍ (توافقية) بين المجلس والهيئة.
تم التوقيع في 30-12-2011 حوالي منتصف الليل. وأعلنت بعض المصادر الناشطة أخبار التوقيع على الوثيقة على حساباتها ضمن شبكة (فيسبوك) الاجتماعية. وبعد ساعاتٍ قليلةٍ فقط تم نشر نص الوثيقة على موقع هيئة التنسيق وصفحاتها على فيسبوك كذلك. أما المكتب الإعلامي للمجلس الوطني فقد أعلن مباشرةً اعتراضه على الوثيقة وقدم تبريراته بأن لا علم له بها إطلاقاً.
إذاً فالتوقيع على الوثيقة تم مباشرةً بعد الاتفاق على صيغتها النهائية بشكلٍ ثنائي شبه فردي بين رئيسي الكتلتين، وبالتالي فإن برهان غليون تجاوز المؤسساتية في العمل السياسي والتي تقتضي أن يختم التوقيع جميع المشاورات والتعديلات والتصحيحات على الوثيقة، ولا يمكن تحديد ما إذا كان الأمر نفسه قد تمّ من هيثم مناع رئيس الهيئة الذي لم يصدر منه أي تصريحٍ حول هذا الموضوع. إنما يبدو أن الاتفاق كان فردياً ضمن (جلسة عرب) اتفق فيها الزعيمان الأوحدان، ورفعت الأقلام وجفت الصحف.
لماذا لم تعترض الهيئة كذلك؟ ولماذا بادرت لنشر النص الذي نشأ عن مشاورات مناع-غليون مباشرةً دون أن تقدم الاعتراض ذاته الذي قدمه المكتب الإعلامي للمجلس الوطني؟ هل لاتفاقها المسبق مع رئيس الهيئة على جميع التفاصيل؟ أم لولائها المطلق وإيمانها برجاحة عقل رئيسها؟ أم لأنّها تريد أن توفّر على نفسها المهاترات طالما أنّ الطرف الآخر – المحب للمشاكل – سيعترض بما يكفي ليجهض المشروع، ولن يجعل الهيئة في حاجةٍ لتقديم أي موقفٍ للرفض أو المساومة؟

التجربة السياسية الأولى (الفاشلة) للمجلس
هذه الأزمة تكشف بشكلٍ لا لبس فيه ثلاث مصائب تعتري المجلس الوطني السوري اليوم.
أول هذه المصائب هي انعدام العمل المؤسساتي برغم تخمة المجلس بلجانٍ ومكاتب وممثليات لم يتم حصرها بعد. فهو عند أول تجربةٍ لمأسسة العمل يعتمد العمل الفردي كلاً على حدة، فيعمل رئيس المجلس وحده ويوقع على وثائق باسم المجلس دون العودة لهيئته العامة. ومن ثم حين قام المكتب الإعلامي للحراك الثوري في المجلس الوطني بإطلاق تصريحاتٍ غير مسبوقة – وأظن أنها غير ملحوقة – ترفض هذه الوثيقة، أعلن أنه سوف يدعو لاجتماع الهيئة العامة للمجلس لطلب التصويت على هذه الوثيقة!!!! يا للهول، إذاً فهو يطلق تصريحه قبل أن يتم اجتماع الهيئة العامة الذي سيفرز الموقف الذي سيكلّف المكتب الإعلامي بالتصريح عنه! أي أن المكتب الإعلامي يصرّح عن رأيه الشخصي في المسألة! وبعد أن انتهت قضية إعلان الآراء الشخصية ها هي العرائض قد بدأت تحضّر والدعوة للاجتماعات قد بدأت توزّع. جميع الأمور التي كان ينبغي أن تكون السابقة، أصبحت اللاحقة.
ثاني هذه المصائب هي ابتعاد المجلس عن واقع السوريين السياسي بشكل عام الذين يتوقون إلى أي نوعٍ من توحيد المعارضة تحت لواءٍ واحد، وانعدام شعوره بالمسؤولية في توحيد صفوف المعارضة السورية. فالعريضة التي يطالب أعضاء المجلس بتوقيعها تسعى للحفاظ على مكتسبات المجلس الوطني لا على مكتسبات السوريين، ورفضها للاتفاق عائد إلى رغبة المجلس في تنازل الهيئة دون تقديم أي تنازلاتٍ من قبل المجلس. برغم أن صيغة الوثيقة تدلّ – وبشكلٍ لا لبس فيه – مقدار التعب والجهد والتشاور الجاد الذي تمّ. ويعلم جميع السوريين أن الاتفاق في حدّ ذاته صادم بالنسبة إلى كلّ سوري لم يكن يحلم على الإطلاق أنّ الهيئة والمجلس قابلان للاتفاق على أيّ صعيدٍ كان. والآن حين تم الاتفاق، يريد أعضاء المجلس من الهيئة أن تنضم تحت لواء المجلس دون قيدٍ أو شرط، هكذا وبدون لفٍّ أو دوران، ودون أيّ تنازل من قبل المجلس. حتى ولو كان هذا التنازل سيقرّب طريق السوريين نحو إسقاط النظام.
ثالث هذه المصائب هي فقر الديبلوماسية السياسية فيما يصدر عن المجلس الوطني السوري، فقد كان بالإمكان تأجيل هذه التصريحات والعرائض التي تؤخر ولا تقدم. كان يمكن التصريح بأن الوثيقة مبدئية وقيد الدراسة من قبل الهيئة العامة للمجلس، وأن قرارات المجلس ديمقراطية تتخذ بالأغلبية وأنه سيتم بحث الوثيقة وفق أسس العمل المؤسساتي في المجلس، ومن ثم يمكن استدراك المواقف بشكلٍ نظيف وهادئ بدلاً من تشويه صفحة المجلس الوطني داخلياً بهذه الطريقة، وبدلاً من إظهار رئيس المجلس بمظهر “المنشق” عن صفوفه.

الاستحقاق الأكبر:
أمام المجلس الوطني استحقاق كبير هو الاختيار بين سيادة المجلس وبين وحدة صفوف المعارضة. وإذا كان الاختلاف على المادة الأولى من الوثيقة فهي أمر ما زال قابلاً للنقاش بدليل أن النقاش تم فيه أصلاً. أما إذا كان الاختلاف على شكليات وجود ممثل توافقي للمعارضة سوى المجلس الوطني السوري فهذا يعني رغبة أعضاء المجلس بالاستفراد بالقرار، وهذا يجهض أي محاولةٍ للتوافقية ويكرّس سعي المجلس الوطني لا إلى اتفاقٍ توافقي بل إلى اتفاق احتوائي تنضوي هيئة التنسيق فيه تحت جناح المجلس الوطني. وفي حين ينتظر الجميع من موالين للمجلس أو موالين للهيئة أن يتمّ تكريس وتنفيذ التوافق بين الطرفين، فإنّ المجلس الوطني يضع اختلافاته ونظرته قصيرة المدى أولاً، ويهمل تماماً أهمية توحيد المعارضة السورية على نقاطٍ توافقية. إذ أنّه اعتمد خطّةً لحركته ولم يعد بإمكانه تغييرها ولو كان في ذلك إمكانية لتحويل مسار حراك الثورة السورية نحو ما هو أسرع وأجدى نفعاً.

أتمنى من المجلس الوطني أن يأخذ بعين الاعتبار أهمية المسؤوليات الملقاة على عاتقه، ويتخلى عن بعض المهاترات الآنية التي لا تدل إلا على مراهقةٍ سياسية لطالما أتحفتنا بها الكتل الثورية على مدى أشهرٍ طويلة، غير عابئةٍ بالثمن القاسي الذي يدفعه السوريون. ليست وحدها الجامعة العربية تلام على المهل التي تمنحها للنظام السوري. ثمة من يمنحها مهلاً غير محدودة نتيجة نظرته المحدودة للغاية.

http://www.bloggers4syria.com/?p=447

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December 31st, 2011, 12:36 pm

 

185. jad said:

Amazing how this agreement exposed the true face of many opposition members and what they really want, Mo is not happy with the agreement..it wont kill as many Syrians as he wished for the new year:

Mohammad Al Abdallah
الاتفاق الذي وقعه المجلس الوطني السوري أمس مع هيئة التنسيق الوطني هو إساءة كبيرة للثورة والشهداء. جوهر الاتفاق هو تفريغ المجلس من مضمونه ومنع المجلس من طلب حماية دولية للمدنيين تحت ذريعة رفض التدخل الخارجي.

بنود الاتفاق الاربعة لا تنم إلا عن حشو مطلق وهباء كتبه أعضاء هيئة التنسيق الوطني ووقع عليه أعضاء المجلس الوطني السوري. أعضاء المجلس الذين لم يستشيروا أحداً لا داخل المجلس ولا خارجه ووقعوا الورقة منفردين دون أن يرف لهم جفن أو يأن لهم ضمير مما يجري في سوريا اليوم.

الاتفاق ببساطة هو إنضمام المجلس الوطني السوري لهيئة التنسيق الوطنية وليس العكس… المجلس الوطني (أو الأربعة الذين وقعوا بالنيابة عنه) وافقوا على شروط هيئة التنسيق وقبلوا بورقتها.

الورقة تم تثبيتها في الجامعة العربية ولن نقبل أن يخرج أي من أعضاء المجلس الوطني السوري ليكذب علينا أكثر ليقول أنها توقيع أولي وتحتاج لتصويت أو موافقة المجلس الوطني كاملاً.

أي محاولة لترقيع ما حصل وحفظ ماء الوجه أدنى من فسخ الاتفاق وإدانته وإصدار بيان من المجلس الوطني يتبنى بشكل واضح لا يحمل اللبس أو التأويل مطالب الشعب بالحماية الدولية للمدنيين هو أمر مرفوض ولا يعدو عن كونه ذراً للرماد في العيون.

إن استمر المجلس (أو الأربعة الذين وقعوا الاتفاق على موقفهم) باختطاف المجلس وسياسته الخارجية دون الرجوع عما حصل فإما عليهم أن يرحلوا من المجلس أو أنه علينا أن نفكر حقيقة بإسقاط المجلس!

لتكن الجمعة القادمة جمعة “لا لهيئة التنسيق، لا لاتفاق القاهرة”.

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December 31st, 2011, 1:27 pm

 

186. jad said:

هيثم مناع على البي بي سي : من شارك في عمل الوثيقه انس العبده واخرون كثر فلماذا يعترضون الان

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December 31st, 2011, 1:39 pm

 

187. Revlon said:

حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom
The NCB-SNC agreement has also been rejected by the representative of the higher command of the Revolution in the SNC.

It is kind of cool that the SNC avail their website to comments that might be highly critical of their performance.
31/12/2011
http://www.facebook.com/Youth.Syria.Freedom

ورد بيان على صفحة الشيخ المهندس مطيع البطين يرد فيه على
الاتفاق الذي تم بين المجلس الوطني وهيئة التنسيق هذا نصه
الصفحة الرسمية للمهندس مطيع البطين

السادة أعضاء المجلس الوطني : تحية طيبة و بعد :
فيما يتعلق بالاتفاق الذي تم مع هيئة التنسيق نعلن نحن في المجلس الاعلى للثورة السورية , براءتنا من هذا الاتفاق الذي يتلاعب بدماء الثوار و نعتبره قرارا لاغياً و باطلاً و ندعوا الموقعين للتراجع عنه فوراً و إلا سيكون هنالك موقف حاسم للمجلس الاعلى و للحراك الثوري و ننتظر رداً حتى تمام الساعة الثانية عشرة ليلاً بتوقيت دمشق 31122011
عن المجلس الاعلى : عضو المكتب التنفيذي في المجلس الوطني السوري المهندس مطيع البطين

وكان رد تنسيقية جاسم الحرة عليه :
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركات
الشيخ مطيع البطين المحترم نحن ثوار جاسم ومن امامنا ثوار حوران
نعلن تاييدنا لكم ولقراراتكم ونحن من ورائكم فسيروا على بركة الله
ونامل منكم التواصل مع الدكتور عماد الدين رشيد وتنسيق مواقفكم
واعلان بيان مشترك لعلمنا بمواقفكم المتطابقة والرؤية المشتركة
والتي تطابق تطلعاتنا كثوار على الارض
فامضوا على بركة الله والله الموفق وهو نعم المولى ونعم النصير
ولا تدعوا من لم يشعر بالامنا ويحس بامالنا يقرر عنا
الا بعد الرجوع لنا أخوكم بالله ابو تمام تنسيقية جاسم الحرة

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December 31st, 2011, 1:59 pm

 

188. ann said:

The Threat of War Against Iran and Syria is Real – Dec 31, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28427

For those who think that the United States wouldn’t possibly instigate another war in the Middle East, think again. Empowered by his “success” in the bombing of Libya and consequent assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, Obama is now seeking to use the exact same strategy against Syria, while using alarming military threats against Iran. In both cases the U.S. is creating the conditions for war in a region that is already boiling over from decades of U.S. backed dictators combined with past U.S. military aggression.

In Syria, the Libya war formula is being implemented with precision: in the name of protecting “human rights,” the U.S. is enlisting the Arab League to open the gates for a U.S.-backed “coalition” of regional countries to implement a “no fly zone,” i.e. war.

Numerous U.S. news outlets reported–without verification– that protesters in Syria were “demanding a no fly zone” and an “Arab army” to invade and topple the Syrian government.

The U.S. is attempting to channel the popular protests in Syria into “regime change,” with the end goal of having a future regime that will serve U.S. interests better than the present one. The “leaders” of the Syrian opposition are handpicked and very friendly with the United States. This non-representative leadership is now asking the United States for military intervention. The Daily Beast reports:

“… the Obama administration is preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition directly [militarily]. Two administration officials tell Foreign Policy that a small group of representatives from several [U.S.] agencies has convened to discuss extending humanitarian aid [military aid] to the Syrian rebels and appointing a special coordinator to work with them. They also discussed establishing a humanitarian [military] corridor along the Turkish border, but that would require establishing a no-fly zone…” (December 29, 2011).

The above usage of the word “humanitarian” to describe military action is used unquestionably by the U.S. government and media alike, after having been media-tested in Libya. It is highly unlikely that working people of any Middle Eastern country would invite the U.S. Army in to “help” them, especially after the U.S. military destroyed Iraq and left the country on the verge of civil war while continuing to pummel Afghanistan, pretending this is a war it can win. Libya is still smoldering from the U.S. assistance.

The lie of humanitarian intervention is best exposed when U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia are considered: On December 29th the Obama Administration agreed to send $30 billion worth of sophisticated weaponry to one of the most repressive regimes in human history. The U.S. media publishes anti- Syria “humanitarian” news and Saudi arm sales on the same page, on the same day, without a second thought as to the hypocrisy in plain sight.

To shield the U.S. motives and U.S. weaponry used in a possible Syria attack, the Arab League will again be enlisted. What is the Arab League? Most of the Arab League consists of nations that have very close political/military ties to the U.S. and are utterly dependent on the U.S. for weaponry and political support. is not an exaggeration to call the Arab League diplomatic puppets of the U.S. The membership of the Arab League includes the brutal dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, United Arab Emigrates, Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Sudan, etc., nearly all exist purely because of U.S. military/police support.

Syria has pointed out the hypocrisy of the Arab League’s humanitarian “monitors,” headed by a Sudanese General long known for being an enemy of human rights. The Associated Press correctly noted that Syria’s complaints about the Sudanese General:

“…raises troubling questions about whether Arab League member states, with some of the world’s poorest human rights records, were fit for the mission to monitor compliance with a plan to end to the crackdown on political opponents by security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.” (December 29, 2011).

If the Arab League expels Syria from its membership, as it did Libya, the U.S./ Arab “coalition” will have been given the green light for a military “humanitarian” invasion. If an “Arab army” does invade Syria for “humanitarian” purposes, it be under the direction and assistance of the U.S. military, which will–as in Libya– be the behind-the-scenes leader, coordinating actions while providing military intelligence for the invasion. All of the dropped bombs will be “made in the USA.”

The Iranian situation is no better. The new economic sanctions that the Obama administration plans to implement equal an act of war against Iran, since they would have a crippling effect on Iran’s economy. Sanctions are used in this case to provoke, and when Iran reacted by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz (a vital trade point), the U.S. military instantly responded. The spokesperson for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, threatened Iran by saying: [the U.S. Navy] is always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.” This is a blatant threat of war. Obama’s silence implies agreement.

Many other high-ranking U.S. government officials have recently made highly provocative war comments against Iran in the media, focusing on the “near future” threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon. There is no concrete evidence that Iran is anywhere near having a nuclear weapon, just like no evidence existed proving that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The constant rhetoric against Iran having a nuclear weapon is dishonest hyperbole; even if Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons it would have little motivation to use them, since Israel could easily obliterate Iran with its arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Attacking Syria and/or Iran opens the door to a wider regional or even international war. Reuters reports:

“Russia is sending a flotilla of warships to its naval base in Syria in a show of force which suggests Moscow is willing to defend its interests in the strife-torn country as international pressure mounts on President Bashar al-Assad’s government…Russia, which has a naval maintenance base in Syria and whose weapons trade with Damascus is worth millions of dollars annually, joined China last month to veto a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Assad’s government.” (November 28, 2011).

Russian military officials have stated that having a military presence in Syria is meant, in part, to act as a deterrent against foreign attacks. This is because Syria is an ally and trading partner of Russia. If Russia were to invade Saudi Arabia for “humanitarian” purposes, would not the United States jump to defend it?

The international situation is on the verge of a larger explosion, with Russia and China viewing the U.S. actions in Libya– and possibly Syria and Iran–as attacks on their border, threatening their own national security.

The U.S. is assuming that Russia or China will not respond militarily, but they’ve been wrong before. When President Bush Jr. gave the green light to the President of Georgia–a U.S. puppet– to attack South Ossetia, Russia surprised everyone by responding militarily and crushing Georgia’s invasion. If an “Arab army” invades Syria and Russia again responds, the U.S. will no doubt become directly involved.

The game of war is often played like poker, where one nation bluffs and hopes the other folds. Obama’s reckless provocations have a limit that may soon be reached, at the expense of the Middle Eastern people and possibly the rest of us. If the U.S. becomes militarily involved with Syria and Iran, it is up to the working people of the U.S. to mobilize in massive numbers in the streets to prevent such an attack.

Shamus Cooke is a social worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org)

References

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2011/12/29/u-s-mulls-aid-for-syria-opposition.html

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hc6ahdq6fAQslErRXxwFZP8Wlavw?docId=6c09aa017897483eb56131187e6b7474

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/28/us-russia-syria-warships-idUSTRE7AR0S820111128

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December 31st, 2011, 2:18 pm

 

189. Haytham Khoury said:

Arab League observers ‘saw snipers’ in Syria

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December 31st, 2011, 2:20 pm

 

190. defender said:

معطيات تصوير الطائرات الاسرائيلية بدون طيار تسببت بهذه الفاجعة

http://arabic.euronews.net/2011/12/31/kurdish-anger-over-turkish-airstrike-turns-to-violence/
حاكم إقليم أولوديري في تركيا يتعرض للضرب المبرح وهو يحاول تقديم تعازيه لعائلات ضحايا القصف الجوي

الأجواء ما زالت متوترة جنوب شرق تركيا بعد مقتل 35 كرديا في غارة للقوات الجوية التركية قالت أنقرة إن ضحاياها قُصفوا خطاً للاشتباه فيهم الانتماء إلى المتمردين الأكراد.

حاكم إقليم أولوديري زار قرية غوليازي لتقديم التعازي لعائلات الضحايا، ولا شك أنه ندم على مبادرته بعد هذا الاستقبال من طرف جزء من السكان. ربما فقد حياته لولا مجموعة من المحسنين قاموا بإنقاذه من أيادي الغاضبين.

رئيس الحكومة طيب رجب إردوغان وعد بالتحقيق في قصف الأكراد الخمسة والثلاثين الذين قُتلوا خطأ وهم يقومون بنشاط غير قانوني في تهريب السجائر عبْر الحدود. ووصف الحادث بالمؤسف والمثير للحزن دون أن يشفع له ذلك لدى سكان قرية غوليازي الذين يصفونه بالمجرم.

في ديار بكر وقعت مشادات قبل ساعات بين مئات الشباب وقوات الأمن التركية بعد مقتل اثنين من المتمردين الأكراد في اشتباك مسلح مع الشرطة.

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December 31st, 2011, 2:26 pm

 

191. ann said:

Syria’s Enemies Strike New Deal to Arm Opposition

Intelligence and security elements of several states, in a meeting in Ankara, discussed a detailed plan on how to arm opposition groups to carry out military operations in Syria as part of their regime change plans for the Muslim state.

According to dispatches from Syria, intelligence and security elements of the US, France and Italy together with Saudi, Israeli and a number of Lebanese agents have recently attended a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, to make the necessary coordination to send large weapon cargos from Saudi Arabia and Israel to Lebanon and Turkey to be smuggled and delivered to terrorists operating in Syria.

The coordination meeting was aimed at carrying out new brutal and criminal acts inside Syria to push seditious moves in the Arab state.

To that end, a number of groups which have been trained in Israel and Turkey will be dispatched to Syria under the intelligence umbrella of French and Italian intelligence agencies.

Reports about the western countries’ involvement in arming terrorist groups in Syria came days after a prominent Lebanese analyst said that the US is using the al-Qaeda elements to carry out terrorist attacks in Syria to destabilize the Arab state.

Speaking to FNA, Director of the Arab and International Strategic Studies Center Qaleb Qandil said that Washington has freed hundreds of al-Qaeda prisoners in Iraq before withdrawing its forces from the war-torn country and infiltrated these terrorists into Syria to carry out attacks against the Syrian people.

He pointed to the recent terrorist bombings in Damascus that killed dozens of people, and stated, “The incident reminds us of those cases in which the US and its allies provoked the al-Qaeda elements in the region.”

Qandil stated that hundreds of al-Qaeda elements have penetrated into Syria through the country’s borders with Lebanon, Jordan and now Iraq.

The attacks in Damascus 9 days ago hit two bases belonging to the Syrian security service, killing 55 people.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March, with demonstrations being held both in favor of and against the country’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, saying it is being orchestrated from abroad.

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December 31st, 2011, 2:48 pm

 

192. ann said:

The year of dissent: The Arab Spring – 31 December, 2011

http://rt.com/news/egypt-2011-revolution-election-075/

The protests are still raging across the Arab world as the year 2011 ends. Despite the fact that some autocratic rulers have already been removed from power, it seems others are on the waiting list as the Arab Spring shows no signs of easing up.

­Three revolutions shook the Arab world in 2011, and other countries are now seeing protests but no change of power as yet. The successful revolution in Tunisia was the ignition point for the whole Arab world to seek democracy and freedom from autocratic rule.

Almost a year has passed since President Ben Ali of Tunisia was forced to flee the country on January 14 after the revolt there. The Ennahda Islamist party came to power but has dragged its heels in introducing any real reforms. The economic and social situations have become worse, unemployment has risen, and people are saying they have not achieved anything they had been fighting for.

The violent protests in Egypt began in January. Thousands of Egyptians inspired by the successful uprising in nearby Tunisia took to the streets demanding the resignation of the authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak, who had been in power for some 40 years.

After a week of protests across the country, President Hosni Mubarak was forced to reshuffle the government and to renounce the idea of participating in September’s presidential elections. But this did not stop the Tahrir Square protesters and only succeeded in uniting different opposition groups, who agreed on their number one demand – that Mubarak step down and leave the country immediately and also that the newly appointed military parliament to be dissolved.

A week later Hosni Mubarak’s position had become largely untenable and he was compelled to relinquish some of his powers, transferring many of them to the vice president. But only a few days later he surrendered to pressure and resigned completely, leaving the Higher Military Council and its head, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, in charge of Egypt.

Hosni Mubarak was charged with causing the deaths of some 850 protesters during the popular uprising and may face the death penalty if convicted. His trial was postponed several times following his arrest.

The new military leaders cancelled the country’s constitution and disbanded parliament, and stated they would stay in power until democratic elections take place and only then hand power to a civilian government.

Since then, the interim government has held a nationwide referendum which set the parliamentary elections for late 2011. But many believed it was too soon for the newly-emerged political movements to gain enough momentum before the vote.

Autumn brought concerns that revolution 2.0 could take place in Egypt, as thousands returned to Tahrir Square, demanding the military rulers surrender power immediately. The authorities cracked down on the protesters hard, reportedly using military-grade neuro-toxic nerve-gas and even live ammunition.

Although the series of protests had left scores of people dead and hundreds more injured, the opening round of Egypt’s first parliamentary elections since Mubarak’s fall began as planned. Islamic parties took an overwhelming lead in the elections. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party gained 40 per cent of the vote, with the fundamentalist Al-Nour Party claiming around 25 per cent.

However, the results are not final as another election round, which is to take place at the beginning of 2012, may change the democratic future of Egypt.

Libya saw the deadliest uprising among all Arab countries so far, with a civil war that left tens of thousands dead – ex-dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi among them. NATO weighed into the conflict with airstrikes which caused civilian casualties. Several months after Libya was “liberated” there is still no peace for the Libyan people. Libya is also becoming an increasingly Islamist state, with few improvements in the social or economic spheres.

Meanwhile, Syria remains one of the flashpoints in the Arab world, with the situation there said to be teetering on the brink of civil war, and control of the situation slowly slipping from President Assad.

“Tunisia was picked as the first in a series of dominoes in a very carefully-planned destabilization strategy, which was planned out more than a decade ago in the Pentagon by the RAND Corporation and others in Washington to redraw the map essentially of the Middle East,” political analyst William Engdahl told RT. “It’s not intended to stabilize or bring democracy to any of these countries.”

“The idea is to create as much chaos through the region as possible in order to justify, I believe, a stronger NATO role permanently in the region,” Engdahl added.

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December 31st, 2011, 3:09 pm

 

193. jna said:

Most Syrians ‘supportive of Assad’ (poll)

Although the majority of Arabs believe Syria’s President Basher al-Assad should resign in the wake of the regime’s brutal treatment of protesters, fewer Syrians are supportive of an immediate leadership change.

According to the latest opinion poll commissioned by The Doha Debates, Syrians are more supportive of their president with 55% not wanting him to resign. One of the main reasons given by those wanting the president to stay in power was fear for the future of the country.

http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=478192&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16

That level of support is not mirrored elsewhere in the region with 81% of Arabs wanting President Assad to step down.
They believe Syria would be better off if free democratic elections were held under the supervision of a transitional government.

The poll’s finding support the result of November’s Doha Debate in which 91% of the audience called for President Assad to resign.

If President Assad resigns, Syria’s relations with Turkey, Lebanon and the United States are expected to improve while relations with Iran and Israel will worsen, according to the opinion poll findings.

The poll conducted by YouGov Siraj questioned more than 1,000 people in the Arab world between December 14 and 19.

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December 31st, 2011, 4:31 pm

 

194. Tara said:

Dear all,

I want to wish all of you (including the Islamophones) happy and prosperous new year.  I wish and pray that 2012 will bring peace to our Syria.  I pray that we all find a space in our heart for forgiveness and reconciliation.  I wish that 2012 brings us a democratic secular non-puppet and proud government where Alawis, Christians, and Sunnis live equal without fear and with human dignity.         

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December 31st, 2011, 5:13 pm

 

195. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear all:

Happy New Year to all of you

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December 31st, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

196. defender said:

كل عام و أنتم بخير اخوتي السوريين أينما كنتم و ان شاء الله يعم السلام و المحبة و الرخاء ربوع سورية الحبيبة ! الرحمة للشهداء السوريين عاش الوطن السوري الحبيب !

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December 31st, 2011, 5:36 pm

 

197. Tara said:

And Dear Josh

A special Happy New Year for you and your family!

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December 31st, 2011, 5:37 pm

 

198. Majed97 said:

Here is another example of exaggerations and twisting of facts by some anxious members of the opposition. Looks like that story about the AL observer witnessing a government sipper in Deraa was missing was on key word: IF

From BBC News:

Dispute among Arab League observers over Syria snipers

Arab League observers in Syria have given apparently conflicting accounts of an incident said to have involved snipers in the restive city of Deraa.

Footage posted online appears to show one official saying he had seen government snipers on rooftops and calling for them to be withdrawn.

However in a BBC interview, the chief of the Arab League mission later denied that the official had seen the snipers.

Violence in Syria has continued unabated despite the monitors’ mission.

The latest footage posted on the internet cannot be verified, but it shows what appears to be an Arab League observer complaining about snipers shooting at demonstrators in Deraa.

The man is filmed telling protesters: “You’re telling me there are snipers? You don’t have to tell me, I saw them with my own eyes.”

He says the observers’ concerns would be conveyed to the Arab League, and that if the snipers were not removed within 24 hours, action would be taken.

In a separate report, the German news agency DPA also quoted a source close to the mission saying observers had also seen snipers in Douma, a suburb of the capital Damascus.

However the head of the Arab League mission, Gen Mustafa al-Dabi, later contradicted these accounts. He told the BBC’s Newshour programme that the official seen in the video was making a hypothetical remark.

“This man said that if he saw – by his own eyes – those snipers he will report immediately,” Gen Dabi said. “But he didn’t see [snipers].”

Correspondent say the statement will add to protesters’ allegations that Gen Dabi – who is Sudanese – is biased towards the Syrian government.

After a visit to the restive northern city of Homs on Thursday, he told Reuters news agency that “some places looked a bit of a mess but there was nothing frightening”.

Gen Dabi has held a number of senior Sudanese military and government posts, including in the troubled Darfur region.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16372833

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December 31st, 2011, 5:58 pm

 

199. ss said:

Happy new year to our brave men and women in the Syrian army who put their lives in danger to secure ours. Your shoes are on our heads. I bend on my knees with full respect to your efforst. God bless you

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December 31st, 2011, 6:08 pm

 

200. Ghufran said:

Haytham
It is clear now that the SNC is divided over what to do, they will either dissolve or stage a coup to kick out Ghalioun and every body who is willing to negotiate with the NCC because people like najjar and abdeh never wanted any solution other than a Libyan style revolution headed by turkey and NATO nations,just read revlon’s wish list and laugh.this means that the opposition is officially split and there will be another wave of violence to push the Syrian file towards the unsc.

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December 31st, 2011, 6:40 pm

 

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